As a financial adviser I have had many conversations with my clients about the need to have a plan for your business and personal affairs should tragedy strike you or a family member. Time and time again I hear:
“I will get around to it”, “I have a Will I did it years ago, its ok” “if I make a will I will die “many times I hear clients that have done a will by writing it out on a piece of paper thinking that’s good enough.
There is just a lack of enthusiasm for the task of estate planning and this reflects the way many people feel about it. They think that so long as you have a Will, you have a way to ensure your wealth is passed correctly to your loved ones. But this is not necessarily the case. The truth about Wills
A Will can help ensure the assets that form part of your estate get distributed according to your wishes. But did you know that a Will typically only applies to personally held assets and therefore may not deal with a significant portion of your wealth? For example, the proceeds from your superannuation funds and life insurance policies don’t necessarily form part of your Estate. They can pass directly to certain beneficiaries nominated by you or go to your Estate where they’ll be dealt with by your Will.
Also, some assets never form part of an estate, like jointly owned assets, assets held in a discretionary family trust, superannuation benefits or life insurance proceeds. To cover all bases, thorough estate planning (or personal succession planning as it’s also known) involves putting in place strategies that address all your assets, not just those covered by your Will. Do I need a personal succession plan?
Another common misconception is that personal succession is only for the wealthy or the elderly. However, just about every asset you own and every investment you make has estate planning implications. As a result, personal succession planning is something everyone needs to consider, regardless of age or stage in life. At a minimum, every individual should have:
- a current Will to distribute estate assets
- an Enduring Power of Attorney to cover situations where they’re unable to make financial decisions themselves, and
- appropriate estate planning arrangements to distribute specific assets that are not covered by the Will.
What are the benefits of personal succession planning?
Personal succession planning can:
- provide certainty by getting the right assets in the hands of the right people, at the right time, and
- enable you to provide for your loved ones while minimising tax payable by your nominated beneficiaries What are the consequences of NOT having a personal succession plan?
Personal succession is something you should address now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
- If you die without a valid Will, intestacy legislation will determine how your estate assets are distributed among your surviving family members.
- If you die without a valid superannuation or life insurance death benefit nomination, the proceeds may not be distributed according to your wishes.
- And, if you’re badly injured in an accident or lose mental capacity, who will manage your affairs while you’re still alive but unable to make your own decisions? So, what’s Next?
Estate planning may not be as challenging as you think, finding a Financial Planner who can assist you in mapping your estate plan, making what seems complicated a little easier, engage with a trusted Lawyer and together complete an estate plan that gives you and your family peace of mind.
Introducing David Fullerton – Trusted Legal
David Fullerton from Trusted Legal is our preferred Estate Lawyer, David has practised as a solicitor since 1997. He partners with accountants, financial planners, lawyers and other professionals to provide advice to clients on wills, estate planning, superannuation, asset protection strategies and trusts. David is a recognised SMSF legal expert who has worked with SMSF professionals and trustees for more than 10 years.
Having an Estate Plan is so important David can take the complex and make it simple for you. We organise meetings with David in our office which we attend with you as part of our ongoing service to you, David has helped many of our clients achieve the right outcomes with their Estate Planning. Please contact the Integra team to make a time to discuss your estate planning.
**This article was recently published in the Autumn Issue of the Integra Newsletter**